Luca, the vivacious, knowledgable owner of one of our favourite wine shops, Passione Vino, not only knows his wine, but he’s great on restaurants too. After noticing a recent open fire weekend he had in Cornwall, and remembering one of his past long-table-in-the-field feasts, we asked him for his top five favourite global outdoor dining picks. Take note for instant August inspiration.
Luca’s Top 5 Outdoor Dining
1. The Hidden Hut, Portscatho, Cornwall
The location here is magic, and the food that Simon Stallard serves is so good! The menu changes every day and before C19, he used to organise feasts where one main ingredient took the stage, such as a lobster feast, paella feast and so on… I hope he will be able to start again very soon…Mind, soul, and palate refreshing.
2. London Shell Co., London
A restaurant on a boat, run by bright and passionate siblings Leah and Harry. Here you will have a fish-based fixed menu – with or without a wine pairing – and cruise down the canal to Camden Lock and back, with the dinner ending perfectly at the same time as the boat trip. Great food and a lovely experience!
3. Agriturismo Al Tiglio, Ponte in Valtellina
This is a 15/20 seat restaurant, run by the Lanzini family, where everything – I really mean everything – is own produced: they grow cereals, grain, and vegetables of all sorts; they breed cows, pigs, chickens, goats; make their own charcuterie, cheeses, butter, wine, breads, cakes, jams, honey, vegetables of all sorts. There are wooden tables overlooking the valley and snow-capped mountains in front; this is the real thing. Marino runs the room with his mother and father in the kitchen… no menu, no wine list, no plastic, all wood fired – I truly love it!
4. Il Consiglio di Sicilia, Donnalucata, Licata, South Sicily
Roberta and Antonio Cicero are a brilliant duo – whilst she works front of house, he chefs. It’s uber cosy and close to the seaside, just outside Scicli, Licata, South Sicily. I absolutely love the attention to detail at this place and although you may be able to find better food in other places, the location is unbelievable. And if you don’t believe me, check out Marina O’Loughlin’s amazing review of this place!
5. Prawn on the Farm, Trerethern Farm, Padstow
This pop up is the very clever idea of Katie and Rick Toogood, whose restaurant Prawn on the Lawn in Highbury and Islington, is excellent. It is relocating its Cornish outpost to Trerethern Farm this summer, so guests can enjoy eating their stunning food al fresco and with breathtaking views of the Camel Estuary.
UJ: Any summer plans at Passione Vino you want to tell us about?
LD: Passione Vino are following the mantra of, ‘if you can’t make it to PV this summer, then we will come to you!’ I have launched Zoom wine tastings that can be tailored to private groups, along with scheduled events which anyone is welcome to join! The bottles we talk about will all be delivered in advance, along with Italian cheese and charcuterie. To find out more, visit my brand new website.